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tv   World Business Report  BBC News  January 11, 2024 5:30am-6:01am GMT

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behind the uk's post office scandal plus, 7 million dead, and a $2 trillion hit to the world economy. four years on from the start of the covid pandemic, we look at the ongoing impact. and, planting the seeds of a high—tech future. how artificial intelligence could transform the lives of indian farmers, and the billion or more who rely on their crops. hello if you have just hello if you havejustjoined us. i'm sally bundock. looking at the top business stories. we start with the cryptocurrency industry. it was given a major boost on wednesday when us financial regulators finally cleared 11 bitcoin investment funds to start trading
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on stock exchanges. the approval of the bitcoin exchange traded funds, or etfs, is seen by supporters as a watershed for crypto, giving it financial respectability and mainstream acceptance on wall street, after a string of controversies. erin delmore reports from new york. this decision was years in the making and now it will allow people and institutions to invest in bitcoin almost as easily as they buy stocks. the move could increase demand for bitcoin and legitimacy for the crypto currency industry, which has weathered scandal and scepticism. sec chair did not shy away from that in a statement saying, while we approve the listing and trading of certain ept spot bitcoin shares today, we did not approve or endorse bitcoin. he said investors should remain caution about the risks associated with bitcoin and said the crypto currency is,
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primarily a speculative volatile asset. while investors and crypto watchers awaited the decision, a false tweet was posted on the sec official ex account a day earlier saying it had been approved. they said the social media account was compromised in an investigation is ongoing. russ mould is investment director at aj bell. good morning to you. wasn't this just inevitable? to good morning to you. wasn't this just inevitable?— thisjust inevitable? to a de . ree thisjust inevitable? to a degree it _ thisjust inevitable? to a degree it was, _ thisjust inevitable? to a degree it was, partly - thisjust inevitable? to a - degree it was, partly because the securities and exchange commission has been dragged kicking and screaming into it, having lost a lawsuit against what of the manager fund providers who pointed out it was already possible to trade funds that were derivatives of bitcoin. this is giving investors a chance to invest in these funds in the spot price, these funds in the spot price, the immediately available trading market. yes, they had to caving the end. is trading market. yes, they had to caving the end.—
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to caving the end. is at the riaht to caving the end. is at the right moves? _ to caving the end. is at the right moves? deep - to caving the end. is at the right moves? deep sigh. . to caving the end. is at the right moves? deep sigh. if| right moves? deep sigh. if ou're right moves? deep sigh. if you're a — right moves? deep sigh. if you're a crypto _ right moves? deep sigh. if you're a crypto believer . right moves? deep sigh. if| you're a crypto believer you will probably be quite excited about it, as you said it provides to legitimacy. originally people were excited about crypto was the lack of regulatory oversight, it was seen as tradable but after all this scandals we have seen with various companies, i think some regulatory approval will be welcomed by crypto fans. the theory guess it opens a tidal wave of anyone who can access bitcoin. a $46,000 investment is not something everybody can do so that there is a money flows into the fund, the fund buys more bitcoin, the price goes up and more people get excited but that process can work in reverse as well. it is work in reverse as well. it is interesting. _ work in reverse as well. it is interesting, this _ work in reverse as well. it is interesting, this whole - work in reverse as well. it is interesting, this whole journey because when it all kicked off i remember my colleague investing in bitcoin right at the beginning, all those years ago, and the tumultuous journey it has been on since. and get, we are all having to just move
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on with this now. it is approval, the sec has given at the go—ahead. it is a huge symbolic moment, really, isn't it? you, it will be interesting to see whether other regulators follow suit, whether the uk or in europe for example. crypto currency fans will see crypto is potentially money and a medium of account or medium account or store of value, people who do not believe in crypto currency will argue it is none of those things. it is too volatile and you cannot really pave your groceries or taxes with it, for example, and it is not widely used by retailers. the ideological battle continues between holders of crypto currencies and those who do not believe in them, just as it does for gold. the same arguments apply. some people love god because they think it is a store of value. you have inflation and central banks conjuring money out of the air. some people don't like god because they see it as an inert rock that does nothing
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and wondering neither gold nor bitcoin does is generate cash or offer yield. interesting. good to get your take on this. see you again soon. to the uk now and what prime minister rishi sunak has called, "one of the greatest miscarriages ofjustice "in our nation's history". as you have been hearing, the government has announced new legislation to clear the names of hundreds of post office managers wrongly convicted of theft and false accounting. ——don�*t like gold. ican i can announce i can announce we i can announce we will introduce new primary legislation to make sure those convicted as a result of the arise scandal are swiftly exonerated and compensated. —— horizon. the post office scandal was a result of faulty accounting software designed by japanese it giant fujitsu, which showed money was missing when it wasn't. as our business editor simonjack explains, scrutiny is now falling on the
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company and the lucrative government contracts it has been given over the years. there is a private company at the very centre of the scandal, it is fujitsu, a £20 billion japanese firm, whose uk arm won way back in 1996 simeon contract to computerise nearly 20,000 post offices. the horizon it system rolls out three years later along its timeline but within weeks some sub both dominic sub—postmaster�*s report problem. the post office at this point deny systemic issues. over the next decade and beyond, hundreds of branch managers are prosecuted, dozens convicted with many sent to prison, declaring bankruptcy, losing their homes and in some cases taking their own campaigners in 2009 began their official fight campaigners in 2009 began their officialfight back, getting official fight back, getting support officialfight back, getting support from some mps. pressure grows on an independent firm is appointed and paid for by the post office to review the software. it finds defects but insist the system is largely robust. —— robust the post
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office reports there are no widescale problems with our system. in 20 oh 22009 that landmark ruling that finds there were defects in the system and the post office agrees to find compensation to sub master dominic sub—postmaster sent mistresses. horizon is still installed in the post office is paid fujitsu another £36 million to extend the contract until the end of 2025. why? because the post office as the systems are incredibly complicated and take years to design and build and cannot be easily replaced. to be switched off horizon, you would bring the post office network to a standstill. fujitsu so far has not paid anything in compensation and in their most recent accounts barely mention horizon is a risk to their business and have set no money aside. despite this nearly 30 year fiasco, in the last ten years the government has awarded fujitsu 191 contracts worth more than
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65 £5 billion, including projects for the ministry of defence and home office. and 2022, the government removed fujitsu from its preferred list of supplies but it can still win government contracts for the procurement process. fujitsu executives are due before the enquiry next week. let's return to the us now, because in the next few hours we get consumer price inflation figures for december. they will be a key piece of evidence for the federal reserve, as it decides whether it has done enough to bring inflation under control, and when to start easing the cost of borrowing from a two—decade high. scott anderson is chief us economist at bmo capital markets in san francisco. hejoins us now. a warm he joins us now. a warm welcome scott to use. he joins us now. a warm welcome scott to use-— scott to use. markets have been on edae scott to use. markets have been on edge about — scott to use. markets have been on edge about this _ scott to use. markets have been on edge about this for _ scott to use. markets have been on edge about this for days. - scott to use. markets have been on edge about this for days. if . on edge about this for days. if you read any market report it talks about this inflation number coming out and in a few
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hours later in the us. what is it going to show us today? we are it going to show us today? - are expecting a modest rebound in inflation december, up zero x 2% after two consecutive months of flat readings in the us and that will be enough to put that headline inflation number up to 3.3% from 3—.1% in november. the good news for the markets and for the fed is that the core measure inflation can take out food and energy we expect that to be up only zero x 2% as well and that will be enough to bring that core measure of inflation down to probably something like 3.8% from 4%. still not at the fed target of 2% but moving in that direction. the number is going to be a pretty mixed bag overall. we think we will continue to see downward pressure on things like goods prices, raw commodity prices and of course energy and
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gasoline. according to triple—a, retail gasoline prices are about 6% lower in december than in november but on the flipside of that we have relatively elevated inflation coming still from housing and shelter and rents, as well as what they call core services or services excluding rents and energy, which has been running at about 5.2% over the past four years. a mixed picture there. ~ , ., ~' there. when you think the fed will start to — there. when you think the fed will start to reduce _ there. when you think the fed will start to reduce the - there. when you think the fed will start to reduce the cost i will start to reduce the cost of borrowing. summer saying it was starting march but if you listen to some who are on the policy committee at the fed like john policy committee at the fed likejohn williams, new york's president, he is trying to stop people running away from themselves, isn't he? absolutely. i think the market is a little too aggressive and expecting a breakout in the first quarter. it is more likely to be the second quarter
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and maybe not until the second half of the year like july. inflation is certainly living down but i don't think the january report or the december report he was going to be a game changerfor the fed or the markets. the fed will remain firmly on this guideline and data dependent at upcoming meeting at the end of the month and they will continue to be patient and see if inflation can move towards their target. we will let you go. thank you very much scott anderson there. here is some news for you. it's exactly 4 years since the first death was confirmed from a new virus that became known as covid—19. in the first year, more than 3 million people, died, according to the world health organization, a figure that has now risen to almost 7 million. as far as the economic impact, the pandemic wiped an estimated $2 trillion off the world economy in 2020,
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a hit that it has yet to fully recover from. and governments around the world still face the hangover of trillions of dollars of debt taken on during the pandemic. oliver cornock is global editor in chief at the research firm oxford business group. iamjoined by i am joined by him now. iam joined by him now. oliver, it is really lovely to see you and what of the results of the pandemic is you do not sit with me here in the studio. that was wanting you used to do pre— pandemic. you were a regular guest in the studio. let's talk about the economic impact of this. where do you begin? figs this. where do you begin? as ou this. where do you begin? as you say. _ this. where do you begin? sis you say, it this. where do you begin? is you say, it is important to recognise the human cost, those huge numbers of very ill people, the huge numbers of deaths. but also the economic hangover though that you rightly identified but that does morph into social impact as well. growth picked up after the pandemic died down. we saw
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a high level of growth in 2021 but then of course the economic narrative moves along and we have seen this combined ash the after—effects of the pandemic combined with other things, such as the invasion of ukraine, and inflationary pressure problems we are to feeling now. but in terms of specifics related to covid, look at the workplace, working from home. you rightly identified that i know longer sit with you. lots of people are working remotely. if you look at the city of london, a lot of the buildings, cafe's, restaurants, businesses, tertiary businesses industry based there are closed on monday and friday. there has been a huge social shift. we talk about the mental health impact, the in two education impact, the in two education impact, the in two education impact, the health impact, big long—term hangovers so the immediate macro economic impact is not simply about business
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and trade flows, also about the human cost as well. the two are very tired. human cost as well. the two are very tired-— very tired. they are extremely tired because _ very tired. they are extremely tired because when _ very tired. they are extremely tired because when you - very tired. they are extremely tired because when you look. very tired. they are extremely| tired because when you look at the workforce many were put furlough during that period of time and many actually chose not to come back. and there is that economically inactive number that comes up in the uk and i'm sure in many other countries around the world as well where people actually decided this is it, i have ended my working life, as it were. i'm not returning and yet they would not have done that, that choice would not have been made if covid had not happened. exactly. we may look back and perhaps the very difficult rules the rose tinted spectacles to say, was a moment were the developed world and, if you like, the developing world, reached a pivot point, because we saw the response from a lot of develop developing countries
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particularly those in the golf and middle east, its financial have tackling this much more flexibly and dynamically that a lot of established economies. when combining that with, as you say, the effect on the workforce, that's had a massive long—term impact on productivity in developed countries no greater than here in the uk. countries no greater than here in the uk-_ countries no greater than here in the uk. ., . , . in the uk. unfortunately we are out of time _ in the uk. unfortunately we are out of time which _ in the uk. unfortunately we are out of time which is _ in the uk. unfortunately we are out of time which is such - in the uk. unfortunately we are out of time which is such a - out of time which is such a shame. there are so much to discuss that we appreciate your thoughts. thank you for being with us this morning to talk about it. let's get some of the day's other news now. fast—fashion firm boohoo put "made in the uk" labels on potentially thousands of clothes that were actually made in south asia. bbc panorama has found that plain t—shirts and hoodies had their original labels removed at boohoo's flagship factory, thurmaston lane, in leicester, last year. boohoo said the incorrect labels were down to a misinterpretation of the labelling rules.
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the uk government is planning the biggest expansion of the nuclear power industry in 70 years. a new large—scale nuclear plant would quadruple supplies by 2050, which the government claims would lower bills and improve energy security. this nuclear power currently provides around 15% of the uk's electricity, but many of the country's ageing reactors are due to be decommissioned over the next decade. coming up: planting the seeds of a high—tech future. how artificial intelligence could transform the lives of indian farmers. around the world and across the uk, this is bbc news. voice-over: bbc news, - bringing you different stories from across the uk. route could be back in a big way. ten county counsel fields, october part of the 20 will have to become a giant lorry parked freight went across the channel pretty much permanently. new checks are to
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be introduced for people entering the eu from outside the block including the uk. leading to this morning. the first step _ leading to this morning. the first step is _ leading to this morning. the first step is you _ leading to this morning. the first step is you will- leading to this morning. tue: first step is you will have your fingerprints taken and also a facial biometric. that happens the first time you register for the entry and exit system. the big problem is, how on earth do you get people to do that safely and in a fashion which isn't going to come up kent four weeks? eurotunnel reckons it'll _ kent four weeks? eurotunnel reckons it'll add an _ kent four weeks? eurotunnel reckons it'll add an extra - kent four weeks? eurotunnel reckons it'll add an extra five j reckons it'll add an extra five to seven minutes per car. it's increasing fivefold the number of ways for passengers to be checked. the port of vrb has little room for more infrastructure and when things go slowly, the impact on the rest of kent can be huge. you're live with bbc news. to india now, where 50% of the workforce are employed in agriculture and a growing population now at 1.4 billion are dependent
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on the crops they produce. but traditional methods are now making way for new technology that promises to make farms more efficient, productive, and profitable, thanks to artificial intelligence. archana shukla reports. for generations, indian farms have been sown and tilled only with traditional know—how. but some like this man are trying out something different. with sensor devices on his vineyard, they check weather and soil health and use artificial intelligence to figure out when to water the crops, add fertiliser and tackle pests. he then receives a precise advisory on a mobile app. this vineyard where we are now, it has no groundwater sources and we are growing these wines with the water we purchased from outside tankers. with the help of ai data, we are now able to irrigate
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them only at the crucial stage and that is helping us to save around 50% of water that actually we used before. building india's silicon valley bangalore by startup fossil tech, the service has led to an almost 25% boost in productivity in crops like grapes and guava. informed decision—making is only one part of the solution to improve productivity but weeding out inefficiencies in the existing age—old agricultural practices is also crucial. ai—powered robots offer a solution. this one is equipped with precision cameras that scan the ground in real—time, programmed to avoid wasteful spraying. the way spraying is done in india is on an acre level. our mission is to boil that down into a plant level decision—making. just by spraying only on the plant we are seeing a 56% savings. improved rural digital connectivity and government
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support for agri start—ups is part of what pushed farm innovation. but just now 2% farmers use tech in farming. we need to enable the digital public infrastructure. there is going to be public—private partnership. india will also always be resource constrained. we possibly are pretty much constrained on finance and insurance services for the farmers, and that is where the gap needs to be filled up with al. data driven agriculture promises profitability but will need considerable time and investment to reach the majority of india's farmers. archana shukla, bbc news, bangalore. let's go from farming to what we buy from the shelves. in an hour or so, we will get
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updates from the uk's biggest supermarket chain tesco as well as marks and spencer. on wednesday, sainsbury�*s reported a jump of more than 9% in sales over the past six weeks, sounding good, demand for essentials such as groceries were booming, but sainsbury�*s was the biggest loser on the ftse 100 yesterday, as it revealed sales in general merchandise slipped, clothing was down, and argos had a dire christmas. natalie berg is founder of the retail consultants nbk retail. good morning. it kind of tells us what we think we know which is the buying essentials, we can't live without our sprouts, milk and turkey but we are choosing not to purchase the more expensive, non—essential items? more expensive, non-essential items? ., �* , more expensive, non-essential items? . �* , �* , more expensive, non-essential items? . �*, �*, , items? that's right. it's been a tou . h items? that's right. it's been a tough couple _ items? that's right. it's been a tough couple of _ items? that's right. it's been a tough couple of years - items? that's right. it's been a tough couple of years for. items? that's right. it's been l a tough couple of years for the supermarkets. they've had skyrocketing inflation and volumes have been in decline. shoppers have had to spend more to buy less. but the good news
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is that for the past eight months or so we have seen a deceleration in food price inflation, so food price rises are starting to his life good news for the sector and this year volumes are expected to return to growth. if we look specifically at christmas, provided, get provided much needed respite for supermarkets. i think this supermarkets. i think this supermarkets all had a pretty much bumper christmas and we will hear from tesco, as you said, in about an hour or so, andi said, in about an hour or so, and i think as the largest supermarket chain in the country, they've done a stellar job of defending market share. they had the budget supermarkets like aldi and lidl nipping at their heels to steal shoppers away and tempt them with lower prices plaything tesco has done a really good job to stem the tide of shoppers, switching to discounters, they've been investing in lower prices
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themselves with price cuts, we've seen them price matching the likes of aldi and lidl and we have seen them really invest in their clubcard pricing and these things have helped to convey a strong value message in this critical trading period. in this critical trading period-— in this critical trading eriod. ., ,, ., in this critical trading eriod. ., ,, , period. how will m&s do because m&s opcat _ period. how will m&s do because mes opcat food _ period. how will m&s do because mes opcat food has _ period. how will m&s do because mes opcat food has kept - period. how will m&s do because mes opcat food has kept it - m&s opcat food has kept it going for a few years, with a crisis in fashion and people moving from m&s and it tries hard to compete with many online play street names, so your thoughts on m&s this christmas? t your thoughts on m&s this christmas?— christmas? i think they continue _ christmas? i think they continue going - christmas? i think they continue going from . christmas? i think they - continue going from strength to strength and you are right that they used to be a tale of two halves with the food division, generally performing well, especially at christmas because it's the time we all look to treat ourselves, we trade up to premium ranges, we don't skimp on for at christmas even in this kind of challenging climate. but i think about non—food division, although we have seen their turnaround
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strategies absolutely bearing fruit and they really are making the conduct of the century in the retail world, but i think we will see somewhat softer demand, we will have seen softer demand for their clothing at home, reflecting what we're seeing across the industry. he rightly pointed out sainsbury is softer numbers with their clothing sales yesterday and the argos division and we are continuing to see shoppers look to reign in on that discretionary spend, so i think it'll be a little bit of a mixed bag on the whole i would say that m&s willeton millie boyle and they are expected to be the christmas weather this year. interesting. as ou weather this year. interesting. as you say. — weather this year. interesting. as you say. a _ weather this year. interesting. as you say, a comeback - weather this year. interesting. as you say, a comeback from | weather this year. interesting. - as you say, a comeback from m&s which was once the darling of the high street and the doubling of the ftse100 once upon a time. natalie berg, founder of retail consultants nbk retail. and really busy day, as we've mentioned. the post office akari get under way
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and lots of earning stories to keep an eye on. we got us inflation numbers out. we're doing our best to keep you cross everything. but the financial markets in asia so you can see how the day is progressing. you see really strong gains across the board if we look at wall street. this is in anticipation of good news about inflation that this could mean that the fed will start to reduce borrowing sooner rather than later. you are up—to—date. that little things news and business. thank you for your company and have a lovely day. hello there. on wednesday, we were all in the same area of high pressure. but despite that, the amount of cloud we saw from place to place varied a lot. the cloud was at its thickest across eastern scotland and north—east england, where we saw drizzle move in from this sheet of cloud from the north sea. but there was some sunshine. western scotland did ok, and for east anglia
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and southern england also there was quite a bit of sunshine around on wednesday, and what a difference the sunshine made to how the weather looked. for example, here in cornwall, barely a cloud in the sky. now, we're going to have the same kind of weather picture with us for thursday, with the cloud varying a lot from place to place. still got a bit of drizzle falling from it, mind you, east scotland around these eastern coastal counties of england, otherwise dry start to thursday, still some frost slowly melting away for southern england and western scotland initially. but it is across these colder parts of the country where we will have the best of the early morning sunshine. and the cloud across the north sea, i think it's going to thin through the day, so i would expect any drizzle to die away, the afternoon looking dry for all of us. cloud will tend to encroach across the midlands east anglia into parts of south—east england, leaving the best of the sunshine probably across central southern england, south west england, southern wales and probably western scotland. again, not doing too badly for some sunny spells. you might see a bit of sunshine as well in northern ireland. on into friday's forecast, that cloud comes further south again. so east anglia, southern england, a lot cloudier this time,
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probably more in the way of breaks generally across scotland, northern ireland and probably north—west parts of both england and wales. temperatures give or take around about six degrees, so it is still on the cold side for the time of year. and the weekend has more of the same, really. high pressure stilljust about clinging on. so some cold and frosty mornings, largely dry weather picture with some of you seeing some sunshine, others staying a little on the cloudy side, but it will remain on the cold side. now, beyond that, next week, we get northerly winds diving southwards. they will bring some snow to scotland, i'm sure about that. we could see a weather system move into the cold air, which could bring some snowfall on its northern edge as well across parts of england and wales. but there's still a little bit more uncertainty about that. however, there is plenty of potential to see some disruptive weather with cold, icy and maybe snowy conditions next week.
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good morning, welcome to breakfast with charlie stayt and naga munchetty. our headlines today. the public inquiry into the post office scandal resumes this morning, after an unprecedented government promise to quash the convictions of hundreds of innocent people.
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the public inquiry is trying to get to the truth of why so many sub postmasters were wrongly prosecuted. today a former investigator will be questioned — he was part of the team whose work led to a number of criminal actions. the deteriorating performance of the nhs — bbc news finds that almost all key health service targets are being missed, putting lives at risk. a grieving family's call for urgent new safety laws, after another death from a fire caused by an exploding battery in an electric bike. if we can change the law, it means that her death was not in vain. because at the moment that's how we feel. yorkshire cricket club approves a controversial takeover of their cash—strapped club from a consortium headed up by former chairman colin graves, who had previously denied knowledge of any racist behaviour during his time at the club. the sperm whales that organise themselves into groups like humans, complete with distinctive cultures, and even dialects

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